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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » From Justin To Kelly (Special Edition)
From Justin To Kelly (Special Edition)
Fox // PG-13 // August 26, 2003
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted August 14, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

"From Justin To Kelly" was a bad idea to begin with: a quick, cheap film designed to make a quicker buck off of fans of "American Idol", while also promoting the singing careers of its two stars, who had little - if any - prior acting experience. I knew "From Justin To Kelly" was officially doomed when it was promoted on "Idol"; although judge Simon Cowell came up with his expected insults, judges Randy Jackson and usual happy-talker Paula Abdul looked at each other, both seemingly at a loss for words.

Is "From Justin To Kelly" the worst film of all time? Although thousands of voters (who may or may not have seen the movie) voted as such on the Internet Movie Database (where it recently lost the #1 slot to "Gigli"), I didn't feel the same way. By no means is this anywhere remotely near a good movie; it's simply an ordinary, cheap, predictable and often dull. It's no surprise that both leads sing well. It's also no surprise that neither can act, although it must be said that Clarkson seems much more comfortable.

Written by Kim Fuller ("Spice World" and sister of "Idol" creator Simon Fuller), the paper-thin plot has Kelly (Uh, Kelly Clarkson) travelling with her friends from Texas to Florida for spring break. He falls for her, she kinda falls for him, something (namely, Kelly's bratty friend) comes between them, but hey - everything gets worked out in the last reel. That's about all there is and even that's padded out by musical numbers scattered throughout the 80 minutes.

Clarkson and Guarini, despite sharing a reported romance during the filming of "Idol", really don't seem to share much of a bond throughout "From Justin To Kelly", as the two don't seem particularly comfortable with each other. The performances are no better; Guarini's goofy to the point of embarassing at times. Clarkson, on the other hand, has an appealing confidence and at least some potential (although her Southern accent kinda goes in-and-out). The supporting performances are nondescript, despite ineffective attempts to have them share the screen in order to take the focus away from the acting ability of the leads.

Director and former choreographer Robert Iscove unfortunately can't seem to get much in the way of dance numbers together on the low budget, either. The movie often sloppily grinds to a halt to start up the musical numbers, none of which are particularly memorable. The film's choreography and cinematography don't add any energy to a bland movie that desperately needs some intensity.

The question that some might have is whether or not there's any unintentional humor to be found - unfortunately, the movie is too bland to really find anything too hilarious, although there are some exchanges of dialogue that got a good laugh (and the fact that a fight over Kelly is settled with...hovercraft basketball is weirdly hilarious). With "From Justin To Kelly"'s minor $4m gross, I don't think the film will have any negative effect on the return of the musical that "Moulin Rouge" and "Chicago" started; however, I doubt anyone involved in "From Justin to Kelly" will benefit in the slightest.

The widescreen edition gives viewers the option of watching the "extended" version of the movie, with two additional song/dance numbers added in.


The DVD

VIDEO: "From Justin To Kelly" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen (a 1.33:1 full-frame presentation gets the other side of the DVD). The presentation from Fox is generally a pretty decent one, with acceptable sharpness and definition, which gets a little inconsistent in some of the dimly lit interiors.

Problems do occur, but nothing too serious; edge enhancement does appear in several scenes and occasionally becomes somewhat distracting. A hint of pixelation also shows up in a scene or two. The print looked fine, with only a couple of minor specks. Colors are nicely rendered, with the vibrant hues looking crisp and nicely saturated.

SOUND: The Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation is somewhat better than the image quality. Dialogue-driven moments fold up to just about mono, but the musical numbers do open out the sound mix fairly well, even if the reinforcement of the music in the surrounds sounded rather processed/artificial at times. Dialogue remained clear throughout.

EXTRAS:

Commentary: This is a commentary from director Robert Iscove and actors Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini. After watching the movie, I thought maybe the commentary would provide some entertainment. Unfortunately, the three seem to have little to say about the picture in front of them, as fairly large chunks of the picture pass with silence. When the three actually talk, their conversations are rather bland discussions regarding casting and what happened on the set. There's a few amusing moments, but I expected a little more fun here.

also: On the full-frame side, there's a brief gag reel, video "scrapbook", "Center Stage With Kelly/Justin" featurette and "Singers Who Dance...Dancers Who Sing?" featurette.

Final Thoughts: I've watched "American Idol" for both seasons now and find it to be an enjoyable piece of basic entertainment. However, "From Justin To Kelly" is a major mis-step by all involved and a thrown together attempt to get cash from "Idol" fans. Clarkson is the only one who pulls together an effort that's slightly compelling. Fox's DVD edition should please fans of the picture, as it adds a couple of songs and offers a few supplements.

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